The N H House was in session yesterday and our legislators were busy making sure our state just keeps getting better and better. Here’s an example: The House passed Senate Bill four hundred, which makes it a felony to take or kill an American Eel. Rep. JR Hoell, Republican of Dunbarton opposed the bill saying killing a Bald Eagle only merits a violation.
In the face of a four hundred million dollar budget hole, the House passed Senate Bill three oh eight, which increases the amount of funding for the Health Services Planning and Review Board. They’re the ones who oversee the Certificate of Need program that determines what hospital facilities can be built in the state. Apparently the sixty percent increase in spending is to hire someone who knows what they’re doing to develop a statewide plan. State Rep. Dan McGuire, Republican of Epsom, questioned why they’re getting any money if they don’t know what they’re doing now and said the state needs to stop continually growing spending.
The House also referred Senate Bill four fifteen to interim study. Apparently, they need more time to figure out, in the face of massive budget shortfalls and threatened downgrades of the state’s bond rating, whether or not they should spend or save fifteen million dollars of surplus from the last budget. House Republican Leader Gene Chandler of Bartlett asked simply “What is there to study?”
Senate Bill one twenty, which broadly redefines what is a political action committee and does not differentiate between issue advocacy and express advocacy was also passed by the House. Critics of the bill say the bill greatly expands who and what would be regulated by the state with respect to political speech, diminishing free speech in New Hampshire. They also say it is contrary to decisions already made by the United States Supreme Court and has no fiscal note identifying the costs to the state of implementing the increased regulation. The bill has to go back to the senate to gain its approval of an amendment.
Governor Margaret Wood Hassan issued an executive order yesterday freezing all general fund hiring, equipment purchases and out of state travel to cope with the states’ burgeoning budget problems. G O P Chair Jennifer Horn issued a statement accusing the governor of hypocrisy on the matter charging that since being elected Hassan has ignored a similar order issued by former Governor John Lynch, by granting nearly two hundred waivers to the freeze, while denying exactly none. Welcome to the party, Maggie!
News from our own backyard continues after this.
Former Manchester Alderman at Large Mike Lopez brought an ax to grind at Monday’s meeting of the Manchester Board of School Committee. During the public participation session of the board, he appeared on behalf of Richard Haugh, an Army veteran with twenty one years of service. Seems that Haugh, a teacher certified by the state of New Hampshire with a master’s degree and experience teaching English as a Second Language overseas, submitted applications to the district on about half a dozen occasions and was mostly ignored. With one exception, his applications weren’t acknowledged by the district, including two that were hand delivered to the district, including one brought by Lopez himself to Assistant Superintendent Karen Burkush. He was interviewed once, but told he was overqualified for the position. Lopez said he didn’t want to be before the board Monday night, but promised Haugh, who is now in Atlanta preparing to go overseas to teach English as a Second Language again, he would bring what appears to be significant dysfunction in the hiring process to the board’s attention. Note, Haugh applied for ten positions in ten Asian countries where he has experience and knows the languages and got responses from all ten. How ’bout that? At the behest of Ward 10 Committeeman John Avard, who advocated for some sort of central hiring process in light of Lopez’s testimony, the board referred the matter to its Committee on Coordination and Administration.
The Londonderry Police Department has announced its officers will temporarily don their ‘Class B’ uniforms until the end of the ceremonies for fallen Officer Stephen Arkell, the Brentwood police officer shot and killed during a domestic dispute. The ‘Class B’ uniform is the more traditional uniform consisting of the blue shirt and black pants. Officers will wear a mourning band around their badge during this time as well.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is straight ahead!